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Napoleon Essay Hero Or Tyrant

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The French Revolution was an uprising in France against the monarchy. The ideals of the French Revolution were best represented by the Declaration of the Right of a Man. The Declaration was designed to protect the natural rights of a man. Those right were liberty, property, security and Resistance to oppression. The control of government began with King Louis and then passed to Robespierre after many horrible years of Louis being king. Following Robespierre came the Directory, Robespierre lost power after the Reign of Terror. The directory was not able to control well enough and that was when Napoleon Bonaparte became dictator and eventually became emperor. Napoleon betrayed the ideal of the French Revolution. Napoleon kept it so that women had little legal rights, he also made the continental system which caused economic problems in Great Britain.

Napoleon also forced war upon Portugal and Russia for not following the Continental System. Napoleon violated almost every right in the Declaration of the Rights of a Man and ruled the way he wanted. While Napoleon ruled, women had little legal rights and Napoleon put in no effort to educate women. Napoleon created the Napoleonic Code. The Napoleonic Code was a series of laws that gave men the legal right to control women. That code ensured that women were forbidden from selling, giving, and mortgaging or buying property. If a women was married she would have to obey by her husband. Divorce for a married women must be wanted mutually in order for it to occur. A women could not marry again until ten months after her previous marriage. “Women ought to obey us. Nature has made women our slaves!” (womenworldhistory.com) Napoleon said that and it reflects on the Napoleonic code he created. “Women are nothing but machines for producing children.” (en.wikiquote.org) Napoleon believes men were superior over women and that women are not as talented or not needed. The Napoleonic Code which favored men over women was betraying an ideal of the French Revolution; liberty.

Napoleon created the continental system. With this plan he hoped to defeat Great Britain by shutting off its sea trade but this caused economic problems in Great Britain and Europe. When Portugal did not want to obey by the system, Napoleon wanted Spain to support the system and Spain refused. Napoleon then went to war with both Spain and Portugal. Russia backed out of the continental system and Napoleon went to war with Russia too. War with Russia back fired and hurt Napoleon very badly. His army was destroyed and other countries were able to form an alliance again him. “I want to finish a job that has just begun. We need a European court of appeals, one currency, one system of weights and measures, and a code of law. It must make the peoples of Europe into one nation” (packet). By Napoleon creating the continental system it then created many new enemies and not only did British people suffer through debt, stealing, smuggling and illegal selling but so did France. Many people were against him.

The continental system was only hurt himself and his army. Another mistake Napoleon made was he caused many wars. The Peninsular war was a result of Portugal ignoring Napoleon’s new Continental System and when he sent an army to deal with them it resulted in him losing about 300,00 men. Also, nationalism sparked in Spain which eventually was used against Napoleon. Napoleon invaded Russia when they refused to follow the continental system also. With Napoleons army consisting of many different nationalities this resulted in a lack of royalty and he ends up leaving Russia unsatisfied and discouraged with only 10,000 troops out of the 350,000 he entered with. “Killed in action 13, wounded or left behind 56, dead from cold or starvation 24, frostbite or left behind 213, total losses 307, now present under arms 24” (packet). The army decreased significantly after the war with Portugal and Russia.

The impacts the wars had on France was very bad. Napoleon was forced to abdicate and give up his power willingly and France was back at square one but now with even more issues than before Napoleon. France now had many enemies due to the wars, no leader and their country was falling apart. Although Napoleon seized power and had many successes such as abolishing serfdom and freedom of religion he had many contradicting ideas in reform that greatly impacted France negatively. Napoleon ran the government the way he wanted. Napoleon disregarded the Declaration of the Rights of a Man. His actions effected many people in negative ways. Napoleon ran the government so women had little rights, he made the continental system, and forced wars upon Portugal and Russia. All of this betrayed the ideals of the French Revolution.

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